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Brandon Mull was the keynote speaker at the annual conference for the Learning Disabilities Association of Utah on March 9, 2012 at Weber State University.
Mull, a fantasy writer, is best known for his books, the Fablehaven series, which was published in 2006. It was quickly followed by four sequels and The Candy Shop War.
Beyonders is Mull’s latest work. Beyonders 2: Seeds of Rebellion was published on March 13, 2012.
“Beyonders is the reason I became an author,” Mull said. “The idea for Beyonders has been cooking in my mind for more than ten years. The desire to create this story is what lured me into writing novels.”
Mull said Beyonders is a story about heroes.
“I thought about my Grandpa when writing this book,” Mull said. “One of my heroes was my Grandpa who was an old World War II pilot. He was one of the only pilots who got off the ground on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. I grew up hearing his war stories. He was a regular guy, that I knew, who had done some heroic things in his life. He had some amazing stories that blew my mind as a kid.”
Mull has been creating novels in his head for as long as he can remember.
“I was a massive daydreamer,” he said. “As a kid I would make up stories. I see stories in my head like a movie. I let it stew in my head, sometimes for years. The cool stuff will stick and the boring stuff goes away. As I aged, those stories became more elaborate and compelling, and I decided that I wanted to share them with others. That was when I became serious about writing. I never dreamed of success, but I kept practicing until I got good enough.”
While at WSU, Mull presented a seminar on how to motivate students with creative writing. WSU student Tina Eggli was one of many who came to hear Mull speak.
“I love his books, I love Fablehaven and I want to find out about his creative process so that I can incorporate it into my writing,” she said.
Mull wanted to make sure that students knew that creativity wasn’t to specific subjects.
“Creativity isn’t limited to writing,” Mull said. “You can create with science, dance, acting, performing and drawing. There are so many different categories. The key is to find out what you are good at. Like most things in life, we like to do what we are good at. If we are excelling and getting positive feedback, it makes us eager to do more. One of the tricks with creative things is to get kids to try enough stuff to find out what they like and what they are good at. Sometimes those crazy little hobbies that we like to do as kids can become our day job, and even if they don’t become our day job, they can become an enriching hobby that makes our life cooler.”
Sharon Salmond, WSU art education student and artist, said she loved the seminar.
“I am interested in all forms of creativity,” Salmond said. “Authors have similar creative processes as artists, and it is interesting for me to learn how they do what they do.”